Favorite Strawberry Salad with Strawberry Balsamic Dressing

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Favorite Strawberry Salad-The luxuriously creamy (yet healthy!) sweet-tart dressing makes this seasonal salad a standout. Virtually any protein will complete the meal.

A luxuriously creamy (yet healthy!) sweet-tart dressing makes this seasonal salad a standout. A hearty portion is delightfully satisfying in its own right, and when paired with a protein of choice, offers an easy weeknight meal that’s 100% worthy of company.🍓

 

 

After devouring a truly spectacular salad at a local restaurant last spring, I spent the remainder of our local strawberry season trying to replicate the virtually drinkable dressing.

By the time I perfected the recipe, it seemed too late in the season to pass along. As such, I tucked it away and have been anxiously awaiting the moment I could share it with you.

Happily, that time has arrived and I feel certain that you’ll be as excited about this recipe as I am!

When tossed with a handful of carefully chosen ingredients, the luxuriously healthy, sweet-tart dressing makes every bite a delight. Virtually any protein will complete the meal, allowing for an easy dinner that truly satisfies.

Though a blender is needed to whip the dressing ingredients into creamy perfection, it takes but a minute and will keep for up to two weeks in the refrigerator. Once you have the dressing on hand, the actual salad can be pulled together in a flash.

Strawberry Balsamic Dressing- fresh strawberries and a short list of pantry staples are all that's needed for a dressing that's sure to become a family favorite!

Requiring just five easy ingredients, Strawberry Balsamic Dressing delivers a sweet-tart flavor and luxurious creaminess. I think it makes this truly healthy salad a real treat!

 

My favorite additions to the foundation of leafy greens are more sweet strawberries, of course, just a bit of slivered red onion, tangy feta or sharp blue cheese, creamy avocado and crunchy candied pecans or Smokehouse almonds.

There’s much room for variation, however. Fresh snap or snow peas, leftover roasted asparagus and grilled chicken or salmon (even smoked salmon) all add a little something extra.

The restaurant version included sliced cucumbers and tomatoes, which I omit. As much as I love tomatoes, I don’t particularly enjoy them paired with strawberries. (Anyone else feel that way?)

I’ve now made this so many times that I just dump plenty of greens into the salad bowl and eyeball the rest. Lately we’ve been enjoying a base of chopped romaine with a few leaves of thinly sliced kale for added texture, mostly because these ingredients are plentiful in our garden. Feel free to vary the greens depending on what you enjoy and have on hand.

While experimenting with the dressing recently, I reached for a bottle of white balsamic vinegar and found it to be a delightful alternative to the red standby. When used, the color of the dressing will be a lighter shade of pink and the flavor, though slightly different, will be equally delicious. (Notice the different shades of red/pink in closeup photo above and the jar in back of the salad, below.)

 

Favorite Strawberry Salad-The luxuriously creamy (yet healthy!) sweet-tart dressing makes this seasonal salad a standout. Virtually any protein will complete the meal.

 

The recipe, below, provides a solid framework, but do feel free to eyeball the salad ingredients according to personal preference and how many servings are needed. If you run out of strawberries, try using dried cranberries or fresh raspberries and/or blueberries instead. Conveniently, the dressing makes enough for several salads.

 

Spiced Pecans are a delightful salad addition and a super satisfying snack. Great for gift giving, too.

Store-bought or homemade candied or Spiced Pecans are a delightful addition to this salad. Chopped Smokehouse almonds and toasted slivered almond are lovely options, too. You may leave the pecans whole for a pretty presentation, but I usually chop all of the ingredients to ensure a little bit of everything in each bite.

Strawberries!

On Instagram? My talented friend, Kalyn, shared these cheerful berries with me. Looking at them make me smile! (You can see more of her whimsical artwork at @kalyndraws-and then you can pop over and say hi to me at @fountainavenuekitchen!)

Favorite Strawberry Salad-The luxuriously creamy (yet healthy!) sweet-tart dressing makes this seasonal salad a standout. Virtually any protein will complete the meal.

Perfect for busy weeknights and absolutely worthy of company, the sweet-tangy-creamy dressing makes this seasonal salad a standout.

Favorite Strawberry Salad with Strawberry Balsamic Dressing
Yield: 4 side dish servings (plus enough dressing for several salads)
A hearty portion of this seasonal standout is delightfully satisfying in its own right. When paired with a protein of choice, it offers an easy weeknight meal that’s 100% worthy of company.
For the dressing:
  • 1 cup fresh strawberries, washed and hulled
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar (no need for aged or “good” balsamic; white balsamic is a delightful alternative)
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon pure maple syrup (could substitute honey)
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt and a few grinds of the pepper mill
For the salad:
  • 4-5 cups chopped romaine, butter lettuce, or mixed greens of choice
  • 1 cup strawberries, chopped or sliced
  • 1/4 cup very thinly sliced red onion (may substitute 2 sliced scallions)
  • 1/4 cup crumbled goat cheese (may substitute feta or blue cheese)
  • 1/4 cup roughly chopped candied pecans (could sub candied or salted almonds or walnuts)
  • Optional: 1/2 a small avocado, chopped; 2 cups cooked chicken, chopped; 1 cup snow or snap peas*
Instructions
  1. To make the strawberry balsamic dressing: In a blender or food processor, blend the strawberries, balsamic vinegar, olive oil, maple syrup, Dijon, salt and pepper until smooth.  The dressing can be made in advance and will keep for up to 2 weeks in the fridge. There will be enough dressing for several salads.
  2. In a large bowl toss the lettuce, strawberries, red onion, goat cheese and candied pecans, along with any optional ingredients, if using. (Feel free to go a little heavier on any ingredients you particularly enjoy.)
  3. Toss with enough dressing to lightly coat or drizzle dressing on top of individual plated portions.
Notes

*Snap or snow peas are a lovely addition. When very fresh and tender, they can be tossed in raw (it is best to string them first). If you’d like them to be a bit more tender, add them to boiling water for 1 minute and then drain and run under cook water or place in an ice bath immediately. Drain very well. This step may be done well in advance. After cooling and draining, cover and refrigerate until ready to use.

The Fountain Avenue Kitchen https://fountainavenuekitchen.com/

 

 

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Comments

  1. Marci

    Ann… we have been away (with sketchy cell service ) so I am just now catching up on my emails. I am shopping today for the ingredients for both the dressing and the salad for the big weekend ahead. Thanks so much for these delectable sounding recipes!

    Reply
    1. Ann Post author

      Hi Marci, Welcome home and thanks for your comment. I think this salad will be perfect for the holiday weekend. As it happens, I just prepped what will be our third go-round with this salad already this week…and nobody’s complaining!

      Reply